Red-breasted Nuthatch Sitta canadensis Linnaeus, 1766S3B (State watchlist breeder)    Synonyms: RBNU.
Kingdom Animalia   >   Phylum Chordata   >   Class Aves   >   Order Passeriformes   >   Family Sittidae   >   Genus Sitta   

Status:

"Red-breasted Nuthatches nest farther north and higher in the mountains than their relatives; when winter food crops fail in these boreal forests, they may migrate hundreds of miles to the south."

They are seen in Maryland mainly in the winter.

"Nesting habitat almost always has many conifers, such as spruce, fir, hemlock, either in pure stands or mixed with deciduous trees. Mature forest preferred, perhaps because old decaying wood needed for nest sites. In migration and winter may appear in any wooded habitat, but conifers always chosen if available" (Audubon:Red-breasted Nuthatch).

Red-breasted Nuthatches migrate southward earlier than many other irruptive species.

In the eastern states, the breeding range has been expanding southward because the birds have been nesting in plantings of ornamental conifers.

Description:

The sexes are similar, although the female and juvenile have a duller head and paler underparts.

Where to find:

Look for the Red-breasted Nuthatch gleaning trunks and branches, probing for insects and spiders in crevices and under flakes of bark.

Relationships:

In winter, Red-breasted Nuthatches eat many conifer seeds.

There are 319 records in the project database.

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A Red-breasted Nuthatch in Queen Anne's Co., Maryland (10/23/2020). (c) Jonathan Irons, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Jonathan Irons. (MBP list)

A Red-breasted Nuthatch in Worcester Co., Maryland (11/12/2016). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

A Red-breasted Nuthatch in St. Mary's Co., Maryland (11/12/2018). Photo by Andy Connelly. (MBP list)

A Red-breasted Nuthatch in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (10/11/2016). Photo by Mark Johnson. (MBP list)

A Red-breasted Nuthatch in Harford Co., Maryland (10/25/2018). Photo by Nikki DeBraccio. (MBP list)

A Red-breasted Nuthatch in Ocean City, Maryland (11/11/2016). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

A Red-breasted Nuthatch in Queen Anne's Co., Maryland (9/21/2018). Photo by Daniel Irons. (MBP list)

A Red-breasted Nuthatch in Harford Co., Maryland (12/1/2020). Photo by Dave Webb. (MBP list)

A Red-breasted Nuthatch in Montgomery Co., Maryland (11/5/2016). Photo by Wendy R. Fredericks. (MBP list)

A migrant Red-breasted Nuthatch in flight at Turkey Point, Maryland (9/20/2012). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

Red-breasted Nuthatch in Queen Anne's Co., Maryland (1/27/2021). (c) Jonathan Irons, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Jonathan Irons. (MBP list)


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